Former hospital foundations director Baltus accused of stealing nearly $46,000Submitted: 07/16/2019
Story By Lane Kimble

Former hospital foundations director Baltus accused of stealing nearly $46,000
The former director of Ascension's St. Mary's and Sacred Heart Hospital foundations stole nearly $46,000, according to police.

Prosecutors charged Kimberly Baltus, 61, with a felony theft charge in Oneida County Court on July 9.

The police report shows Baltus admitted to stealing the money during a stretch that started in January 2017 and ran through October 2018, when she left the foundation.  

The foundation provides further support and services to patients in the Ascension system, including funding for the James Beck Cancer Center, free health screenings at wellness fairs, and diabetic supplies for patients in need.

Baltus wrote out 41 checks to "cash", then authorized the checks and cashed them herself. Baltus told police she needed help paying bills because her husband injured his back and couldn't work. She claimed she intended to pay the money back, but it got out of control.

"Kimberly initially had intentions of repaying the money but admitted that the longer the thefts went on she know she would never be able to repay the money but just kept taking it," the police report says.

Baltus asked police if she could avoid charges by paying the money back, adding she had admitted the thefts to her boss at Ascension, Sandy Anderson, via text message.

Ascension leadership, through Anderson, told Rhinelander police they want Baltus prosecuted.

"We take the integrity of our financial systems very seriously and have corrected the internal control breakdown the former associate exploited to ensure that this type of situation cannot happen in the future," an Ascension Wisconsin spokesperson told Newswatch 12 via email Tuesday afternoon.

"We are disappointed by this breach of trust and appreciate the patience and understanding of those affected."

Ascension's spokesperson explained it started an investigation into the foundations' accounts "immediately" once it discovered the accounting irregularities. Crowe LLP had conducted an audit into the missing money at Ascension's request.

Ascension says it fully reimbursed both foundations and plans to seek full restitution from Baltus.

Baltus faces up to ten years in prison and $25,000 in fines if convicted of the felony charge. She is due in court July 29.

Baltus also served on the Howard Young Foundation and as executive director of the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce until June 2014.

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